The supermarkets might go mad for pumpkins rather than fireworks; the TV programmes might be flooded with American imports mentioning Halloween rather than bonfire night; but in this dark quarter of South-East London, where electricity is still viewed with suspicion, if not seen as outright sorcery, November 5th weekend is still a time for celebrating the torture and execution of an early member of the Al-Qaeda school of political change.
Even the gang of robbers who have been terrorising Lewisham station take the weekend off and trudge up the hill to Blackheath, where on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the skies lit up with all the fury of a Jean-Michel Jarre concert.
Living close to Blackheath as this writer does, it makes it a bit hard not to remember November 5th. Indeed the Heath boasted one of the largest fireworks displays in London. It was certainly the loudest. Nearly all the pets near Blackheath are currently undergoing psychiatric counselling, while several of the crows who inhabit SE3 are understood to have put in for a transfer to Hampstead.
On the plus side, there is less of a queue at the kebab shop early evening, and we can play our collection of German thrash punk metal at full volume without fear of disturbing the neighbours. Those that hadn’t trekked up the hill to Blackheath were either deaf, on holiday or trying to calm down their frantic panicking parakeet.